When it comes to light that a prominent liberal Democrat has committed a series of sexual transgressions, there are two typical responses from media outlets: ignore the story and hope it goes away or spin it as best as they possibly can. The latter approach typically involves either highlighting how said politician and his wife are grappling with rebuilding their marriage and family or by virtually lamenting the emotional turmoil suffered by the adulterous pol as a result of his inability to control himself.
A textbook example of the latter was dutifully provided by Time magazine's Dan Kedmey in a September 9 post Swampland blog post headlined, "Report: In a Secret Journal, RFK Jr. Records a Painful Struggle With 'Lust Demons.'" Kedmey picked up on a New York Post exclusive about a journal purportedly kept by Kennedy in which, "[o]n the days he resisted the temptation to have an affair, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. marked the occasion in his secret journal with a one-word exaltation: “Victory!” But on the days of defeat, the ink really began to flow across the page." Kedmey continued (emphasis mine):
In the 398-page journal obtained by the New York Post, Kennedy chronicled his day-to-day activities in 2001, but also maintained a detailed account of his extramarital affairs as he crisscrossed the country for various speaking engagements. According to the Post it was all inscribed in a decoy ledger entitled “Cash Accounts,” where he recorded the date of the infidelity, the name of the woman involved, and a code of numbers, ranging from 1 to 10, representing the performance of certain sex acts. Number 10 corresponds to intercourse. Numbers 1 through 9 have yet to be decoded by the Post — so at this point it’s hard to know precisely what he did on the day he recorded a 10, 3, and 2 over the course of a single fundraiser at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. (MORE: Former White House Intern Alleges Affair With President John F. Kennedy) But beneath the scrupulous record-keeping are lengthy essays about his struggle to keep what he calls his “lust demons” at bay, according to the newspaper. In a sign of how wild those demons could be, he reportedly writes about a stint in a Puerto Rican jail after he was arrested at a local protest. “I’m happy!” he writes while behind bars, relieved to find respite from the constant temptation to cheat. Kennedy’s infidelities caused tremendous problems in his marriage to Mary Richardson Kennedy, whom he portrayed as unstable and abusive. She committed suicide last year. The Post provides the details of the journal here. [New York Post]
Kennedy wrestled with guilt and self-loathing but he's still alive and has ample opportunities to seek psychiatric and spiritual help. His wife, on the other hand is dead, having committed suicide. We don't know to what extent she knew of Kennedy's adulteries or worse, of the score-keeping ledger, but it's understandably hard to empathize with RFK Jr. given the contrast. What's more, no one would or should expect the media to do so were the disgraced political figure the scion of a conservative Republican family and not the media's favored "American royalty."